On Thursday, her lawyers and agent confirmed that she was relocated to a penal colony in Mordovia, about 210 miles east of Moscow.
“Brittney is doing as well as could be expected and trying to stay strong as she adapts to a new environment,” her lawyers said in a joint statement. "We can confirm that Brittney began serving her sentence at IK-2 in Mordovia. We visited her early this week.”
Back in August, Griner was sentenced following her arrest at a Moscow airport in February with vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. On November 4, 2022, she was transported from a detention center near Moscow to an undisclosed prison location.
Since her detainment, the Biden administration has been negotiating Griner’s release along with Paul Whelan, a corporate security executive who is also jailed in Russia. Whelan has been serving out his sentence in Mordovia after being convicted of espionage-related charges in 2020.
Through a spokesperson, the U.S. State Department issued a statement regarding Griner’s relocation to Mordovia.
"We are aware of reports of her location, and in frequent contact with Ms. Griner's legal team,” the spokesperson said.
"However, the Russian Federation has still failed to provide any official notification for such a move of a U.S. citizen, which we strongly protest,” the statement continued.
Russian penal colonies are notorious for their harsh conditions. Inmates are required to work long hours doing manual labor for meager pay. Human rights groups and former prisoners claim that access to healthcare at the facilities is extremely limited.